Redskins May Be Without Key LB

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 3, 2007

Linebacker Marcus Washington sat out practice after aggravating his lingering hamstring injury and is listed as questionable for tomorrow's game against the New York Jets.

Washington, who returned to the lineup last week against New England after missing two games because of hamstring problems, participated in full drills Wednesday and Thursday. The former Pro Bowler expected to join the Redskins yesterday as they finalized plans for their third road game in four weeks, but his hamstring wouldn't cooperate again.

"Marcus came in a little bit sore," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "He looked good in practice [Thursday], but he came in this morning and said he aggravated it."

A decision on Washington's status may come shortly before kickoff at East Rutherford, N.J. Even if Washington fared well in a pregame workout, the Redskins still may exercise caution and put him on the inactive list.

"Hamstrings can be really tricky," Washington said. "You have to be careful."

In last week's 52-7 loss to New England, Washington played primarily on third downs as a pass-rushing end. With Washington still slowed while recovering from the injury, his role in pass coverage was reduced against the Patriots. After playing the Jets (1-7), the Redskins (4-3) face NFC East rivals Philadelphia (3-4) and Dallas (6-1) the next two weeks.

"I want to be there but I've got to be smart, too," Washington said. "Yesterday, I practiced and felt fine. I was able to pretty much do everything. Today it feels a little sore, there's a little inflammation in there, so we just have to kind of see what happens. Maybe it'll go down."

Veteran linebacker Randall Godfrey has started on the strong side in place of Washington, and Godfrey "does a good job for us at that spot," middle linebacker London Fletcher said. "Where losing Marcus probably hurts us a little bit more is in the sub packages . . . with him being able to rush the quarterback the way he does.

"It hurts us more in the third-down rush. Obviously, we're losing a very valuable player to our defense if Marcus isn't able to go."

Rookie pass-rush specialist Chris Wilson has filled in for Washington as the rush end on third down. Wilson has impressed at times, but Washington is missed as much for his experience and leadership as his talent, his teammates said.

"To lose a guy like him, a Pro Bowler who's always vocal and prepared, for however long, is always hard," defensive lineman Phillip Daniels said. "You'd like to get him back fast, but we definitely don't want him to go out there unhealthy. If he can't go, we'll definitely miss him. You can tell the difference when he's not out there."

Redskins Notes: Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who suffered a concussion last Sunday against Buffalo, was listed as doubtful for the game. He has started every game since 2001. Coles, a former Redskin, has a streak of 104 consecutive starts and leads the Jets with six touchdown receptions. . . .

Backup offensive lineman Mike Pucillo sat out practice for the second consecutive day because of back problems and also is listed as questionable.

"I think he'll be okay," Gibbs said. "We'll work him out" before the game.

Losing Pucillo, who plays center and guard, for a long stretch would be another blow to an offensive line already weakened because of injuries. Starting right tackle Jon Jansen suffered a season-ending broken leg in the first game. Starting right guard Randy Thomas tore his triceps in the second game and is out until at least early December.

With Casey Rabach sidelined because of a groin injury, Pucillo started at center in a 21-19 victory over Arizona on Oct. 21. . . .

Wide receiver James Thrash (hamstring) participated in limited drills yesterday but is expected to play.

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